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 V.17 No.52 | December 25 - 31, 2008 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: ChinaLondon’s Telegraph reports a Chinese man was struck and killed by a wayward weather rocketa fact that was not discovered until the man’s body exploded while being cremated. The body of Wang Diange, from the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, was found in the wreckage of a house where he had been overseeing the wake of a recently deceased family member. As it was raining and thundering at the time, family members concluded Wang had been struck by lightning. Several days later, after his own funeral, Mr. Wang’s body blew up as it was being fed into the cremation chamber, blasting the metal doors from their hinges. When the fire had been put out, the only clue left was a small, twisted piece of metal, which seemed to be the glowing remnant of a screw. A military serial number was found on the metal and a lengthy investigation traced it back to the local weather bureau. The day that Mr. Wang died, the weather bureau had been firing shells into the atmosphere to break up hail in a bid to protect the local tobacco crop. Inside the shells was silver iodide, a chemical that helps break hail into rain. The weather bureau’s own investigation concluded that one shell must have failed to explode, hit the house in which the wake was being held and lodged inside Mr. Wang’s body. As a result of the investigation, the weather bureau paid out a 80,000 yuan (about $15,000) settlement to the Wang family.

“We will suck the heat out of the sand to keep it cool enough to lie on.”

Dateline: United Arab EmiratesA luxury hotel in Dubai plans to create the world’s first refrigerated beach so that guests won’t burn their feet on the hot sand. The Palazzo Versace hotel will have a network of pipes beneath the sand containing a coolant that will absorb heat from the surface, reports The Australian newspaper. “We will suck the heat out of the sand to keep it cool enough to lie on,” said Soheil Abedian, founder and president of the Palazzo Versace. “This is the kind of luxury the top people want.” Competition for high-end business is getting intense in Dubai. The city already boasts the world’s first seven-star hotel. Armani, a competitor with fashion-house-turned-hotelier Versace, has plans to build a similar name-branded hotel. The refrigerated beach, which will be controlled by thermostats linked to computers, is expected to give Versace an edge in this battle over luxury lifestyles.

Dateline: New JerseyNo birthday cake for Adolph Hitler. That’s the decision of a supermarket in Greenwich, which refused to frost a cake with the full name of 3-year-old Adolph Hitler Campbell. A local newspaper report resulted in a wave of support for the store and a storm of criticism for the parents of little Adolph. “I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they’ve been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past,” 35-year-old father Heath Campbell said in an interview last week. “There’s a new president and he says it’s time for a change; well, then it’s time for a change.” Campbell’s wife, 25-year-old Deborah, said she phoned in her order two weeks ago to the ShopRite in Hunterdon County. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son’s name spelled out, she was referred to a supervisor who refused the request. A spokesperson for ShopRite said the Campbells have had similar requests denied over the last two years, including one for a swastika to be included in a cake decoration. Heath Campbell denies being a racist and says he named his son after Adolf Hitler simply because he likes the name and because “no one else in the world would have that name.” The Campbells have two other children, including JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, who turns 2 in a few months.

Dateline: FloridaPolice in Port St. Lucie say a man was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend with a sandwichthe second such incident in a month. According to a police report released last Monday, a 20-year-old man threw a sandwich at his girlfriend’s face during an argument about auto insurance and then hit her in the head with his fist. The man admitted to throwing the food but not to hitting her. He was arrested and charged with battery. In November, another Port St. Lucie man was arrested on a battery charge for smacking his girlfriend with a sandwich while she was driving. Police reports did not specify what type of sandwich was used in either attack.

Dateline: FloridaTwo men face charges of armed burglary after breaking into a home, brandishing a pistol, holding a knife to the resident’s throat and demanding ... a metal eggbeater. Deputies arrested Robert Eugene Thompson and Taurus Deshane Morris outside the home on State Road 60 in Plant City, reports Tampa Bay Online. The sheriff’s office said the two men entered the home at about 3:35 a.m. Thompson armed himself with a folding knife while Morris held a chrome pistol, arrest reports indicate. Thompson put the knife against the victim’s neck and demanded the metal eggbeater. The item in question was found in Thompson’s left back pocket when he was arrested. Besides the burglary charge, Thompson faces a charge of aggravated assault.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

 
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